The Nigerian movie industry has gone into mourning following the passing of the founder of the Africa Film Academy, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe.
Ode to Peace Anyiam-Osigwe: The trailblazer who redefined Nigerian entertainment space
We are all lucky enough to have known her and been inspired by her accomplishments.
News of her death broke in the early hours of today, January 10, 2023 and was later confirmed by her family.
Losing the trailblazer is a major loss, as Anyiam-Osigwe was a pioneer who broke down barriers for Africans in the entertainment industry, which she called home for decades.
She was a veteran who paved the way for generations of artists who would come after her—and now those generations have lost their champion as well.
An enigma: a towering icon who maintained quiet dignity while also being one of the most important players in Nigerian filmmaking history.
The Pulse Movie Desk pays homage to her life and legacy by giving you an insight into who she was and her achievements.
Birth and Personal life
Since the popular saying is that the story of a man begins at birth, it would be a disservice not to look at who she was through that lens.
Also known as the "queen of Nollywood films," Anyiam-Osigwe was born on March 30, 1969. She was the only female child in a family of eight children from the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe family in Nkwerre, Imo State.
She got a degree in Law and Political Science from Oxford Brookes University, and was a lover of fabrics, even manufactured them.
Her major career path
Anyiam-Osigwe was a writer and filmmaker with a core interest in using her works to advocate for black communities, the African caste system, child trafficking, and women's equality.
In 2005, she founded the Africa Film Academy, an award ceremony that has celebrated African filmmakers for over a decade. The award ceremony is reputed to be one of the most recognised awards for African filmmakers.
The many things she will be remembered for
She was documented by The Guardian as the creative woman who pioneered the screening of Nollywood films at international film festivals.
In her conversation with The Guardian in 2016, she noted that her greatest achievement in the industry isn’t just the AMAA—her legacy, which people would know her for—but also some of the other things she has done differently in trying to get people to respect Nollywood internationally.
Being the first person to get Nollywood into a film festival as a proper film genre was definitely an achievement for her and a step in the right direction.
In 2015, she began the AfricaOne initiative to commemorate Africans in the entertainment industry. The #AFRICAONE project transcended the filmmaking space and ate into the dance, music, and visual arts. It was a project that pushed the African art sector onto the global stage.
In 2020, she became the seventh National President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), where she initiated a project called the "100 Film Project," which was targeted at improving the quality of films coming from Nollywood.
She announced the project in 2021, during the 17th edition of the AMAA awards, and shared that the plan was for them to make a total of 100 in 18 months.
It was also revealed that the plan for the 100 Films Project was to create a platform to make the ecosystem more coordinated and produce films that would meet international standards.
Anyiam-Osigwe worked on building the capacity of film producers in the country through several seminars and training that culminated in a visible result.
Speaking of getting one's flowers while they are alive, the Nigerian government recognised the contributions and efforts she made to improve the entertainment industry.
In 2012, she was honoured with the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic.
Seven years later, the African Film Festival (TAFF) honoured her with the African Film Pioneer Award at the ceremony.
The founder of the festival noted that the prestigious award will be given to Peace Anyiam-Osigwe in recognition of her immeasurable contribution towards the development of the African film sector.
Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions, and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife.
The first question was, "Did you find joy?" If yes, the second was, "Did you bring joy to others?"
It is safe to think that Anyiam-Osigwe would answer both questions with a resounding yes.
When she stepped down from being AMAA's President in 2013, it was assumed that she was done with the industry as it was time for her to lay back, but she continued to push the boundaries of creativity and advancement for the industry until she drew her last breath.
The veteran has played her part in nudging the African entertainment space forward; she can only smile and watch what we do from here on.
May her soul journey to the eternal planes of rest.
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